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tv   At This Hour With Kate Bolduan  CNN  March 20, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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me. i'm poppy harlow. "at this hour" starts now. hello. i'm ryan nobles in today for kate bolduan. after this morning the term twitter spat doesn't cut it anymore. the president's public feud with his top aide's husband is now looking more like an all-out war. while a republican senator says the president's repeated attacks on the late senator john mccain crossed the line. let's begin with the president's enemy of the moment, george conway, the husband of white house counselor kellyanne conway. trump blasting out this tweet this morning. george conway often referred to as mr. kellyanne conway by those who know him is very jealous of his wife's success and angry that i with her help didn't give him the job he so desperately
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wanted. i barely know him, but just take a look, a stone cold loser and husband from hell. trump and george conway have been publicly feuding since conway questioned trump's mental fitness. sarah, how is george conway responding to the president this morning? >> well, ryan, this is certainly getting a lot more personal. president trump potentially elevating george conway to new levels of recognition by directly engaging with him. george conway is a prominent d.c. lawyer and a longstanding critic of president trump. after trump weighed in this morning for what appears to be the first time weighing in on the conways' marriage, mr. conway responded by writing, you are nuts and also claiming that the president is proving his point by taking the time to write such a rebuttal. mr. conway spoke to the "washington post," tried to explain the frequency of his
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barbs against his wife's boss. he said the incompetence is just maddening the watch. t the tweeting is just the way to get it out of the way so i can get it off my chest so i don't end up screaming at her about it. the "washington post" did publish a letter that suggested that mr. conway actually turned down a job in the justice department in 2017. keep in mind as you mentioned this all began when mr. conway was claiming on twitter that president trump has mental health problems. he even tweeted out images from a diagnostic manual for mental health conditions. we should note that george conway is not a psychiatrist. this was just speculation on his part, but at this point it's morphed into a feud that has roped in allies of the white house, allies of kellyanne conway, even president trump himself now defending the top counselor to the president. >> something that only seems to
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happen in the trump administration. sarah, thank you. kellyanne conway recently talked about her husband with cnn's dana bash. this was before the president and george conway traded insults this week. take a listen. >> now we have a president who's actually criticized his own attorney general. >> watch tv and twitter lately and one of trump's most vicious critics is her own husband george, striking hard and deep with his latest attack on the president's mental state, calling it narcissistic personal ty disorder. >> i don't share those concerns. >> we spoke before the latest drama. but well after her husband started going after her boss, which she says she didn't see coming. george was so excited, literally crying with joy in his maga hat on election night. so in that way he's changed.
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he's changed his opinion on i guess matters of the presidency. but i haven't and donald trump hasn't. >> you mean mr. kellyanne conway? >> the day he was out on the south lawn and he called george mr. kellyanne conway struck me. sounded like he was sending a message. >> i thought it was him being donald trump. it was clever. it's an unusual situation, especially in politics or washington for a husband to get his notoriety and power through his wife. it's usually the other way around. it's funny because people say, george, you should come to harvard and speak side by side. i think okay but then i'd have to give him my power. >> the president's top allies are stepping up their response to george conway on twitter and rallying around her personally as a mother of four children.
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>> these children are now 14, 14, 10 and 9. they're all old enough to read everything and they're all old enough to have embraced d.c. as home, which took a while, especially for one of my children took a long time. >> it's a tough age to move. >> it's a tough age to move. let's face it, it isccasion whe moving for mom's job. >> that interview was prior this week back and forth between the president and kellyanne conway's husband. it is part of dana bash's "badass women in washington." doug high is a former communications director for the republican national committee. it seems pretty clear that president trump is attempting to insult george conway by calling him mr. kellyanne conway. but if someone were to refer to me as mr. carrie nobles, i would consider that to be the highest compliment. how can this continue?
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how can kellyanne conway continue to work for donald trump if he's continuing to say these things about her husband and her husband saying these things about him? >> yeah. i think so much of what we've seen in this white house over the past couple years is really reminiscent of professional wrestling where donald trump is sometimes the bad guy, sometimes the good guy. whether you cheer him or you boo him, as long as you're watching they're happy. that also means that a lot of this is prescripted in advance. not to say it's fake, but it's prescripted in advance. we know that donald trump always defines himself as a counter puncher. these aren't necessarily productive counter punches but that's clearly what's happening right now. >> there are a lot of people who don't like donald trump and are probably cheering george conway on. he's really the one that started all of this, didn't he? >> well, sure. usually presidents rise above this. i would tell you there's not a lot that george conway's tweeted that i would necessarily
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disagree with although i wouldn't go as far as some of the name calling. but ultimately this is up to the white house and how it responds. this is all it always responds. we're in deja vu all over again. but the reality is also a political reality. what i hear so often from republicans on capitol hill is a resigned here we go again moment. for this white house, if i were advising them and blessedly i am not, i would say mr. president, you have great economic news almost on a weekly basis. just yesterday cnn put out a poll that had the economic approval at 71%, the highest since it's been since 2001. i would tell the president, focus on your good economic news that plays to your business record all day every day. stay out of these fights whether it's with george conway or john mccain. >> speaking of the president picking fights, you mentioned john mccain. that's obviously a feud that has continued long after the senator's death. i want to talk about republican
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senator johnny isakson. he said, quote, i just want to lay it on the line that the country deserves better, the mccain family deserves better. i don't care if he's president of the united states, owns all the real estate in new york or is building the great est immigration system in the woorl, nothing is more important than the integrity of the country and those who fought and risked their lives for all of us. johnny isakson not a flame thrower, he's also somebody who votes with president trump most of the time. how big of a deal is this to see someone like senator isakson step out and defend john mccain so publicly? >> it is significant. one of the things also that's significant about this is senator isakson is also the chairman of the veterans affairs committee, which says this isn't just an attack on john mccain and his heroism.
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senator isakson also views this as an attack on all veterans who have served. so to see these kind of attacks on one veteran certainly affects all veterans. mitt romney has spoken out as well and i hope more republicans do. >> we'll see if senator isakson says more about this. house democrats wish the president were as generous with his documents as he is with his tweets. congressman elijah cummings says the white house hasn't handed over a single piece of paper or offered a single official to testify as his oversight committee looks into a series of investigations into the trump administration. cummings says he has gotten an unprecedented level of stonewalling, delay and obstruction. and on top of that, the house judiciary committee says the
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white house has missed a deadline to turn over documents as it looks into whether president trump abused his powers. bottom line, it is looking like a long, subpoena-filled battle lies ahead between the white house and the congress. sara murray is in washington and manu raju is on capitol hill with more on this story. what are you hearing from democrats on the hill? >> reporter: democrats are trying to make the case they believe that the white house is being completely uncooperative in all of their oversight requests. they say these have been legitimate oversight requests. the white house has essentially ignored those requests or has stalled, has not provided witnesses. even former officials like john kelly who elijah cummings wants to speak with as part of his investigation into security clearances at the white house, those former officials are being essentially blocked by the white house and not coming forward
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according to democrat who s who this is completely unprecedented. elijah cummings took his case to the "washington post" and wrote in an op-ed, the white house is engaged in an unpress denlted level of stonewalling delay and obstruction. the white house has not turned over a single piece of paper to our committee or made a single official available for testimony. one other committee that's doing significant investigation is the house judiciary committee run by jerry nadler. he requested documents from a variety of officials and entities including the white house, asked for responses by this past monday as part of his investigation into obstruction of justice potentially at the white house. the white house missed that deadline. part of the request for information jerry nadler asked to learn more about that hush money scheme that the president apparently was involved in to silence stories about those alleged affairs that he had.
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these are something this committee wants to look into. nadler last night in a town hall in new york was asked about michael cohen, asked about the president. he said the president has committed crimes. >> we're not talking about what michael cohen said. he was indicted. michael cohen was indicted for illegally paying off a woman to not talk about what had happened to her in order -- no, he was indicted for this and he pleaded guilty. in order to affect the election. that is a crime. he pleaded guilty to that. the indictment said that he did so at the request of individuals numb number one. individual number one being the president, makes him part of the crime. >> reporter: he went onto say the president was not protected by justice department guidelines
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preventing a sitting president from being indicted. that is unaspes a one aspect of judiciary committee's investigation into the president's conduct. they say they're not getting my cooperation from the white house. >> from this special counsel's perspective, they said they're too busy to respond to a request for manafort documents. kwh >> reporter: that's right. apparently the mueller team is very busy doing what we don't know exactly. they were supposed to respond to this effort to have some documents unsealed in paul manafort's case. in a filing, mueller's team are asking the judge for an extension. the big question is what is this other work they are working so diligently on? is there another investigative matter at hand that we don't know about? are they working on finishing up the mueller report to hand it over to attorney general bill barr in the coming days? we just don't know the answer to
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that. we learned deputy attorney general rod rosenstein was slated to leave the justice department essentially any day now. now he's made it clear he wants to be at the justice department when the mueller report comes out. he sees himself as something of a head shield and he wants to be here to take the bullets, take the punches if there are any whether the mueller report comes out. we still don't have a good sense of the timing. >> we continue to find bread crumbs but no real tangible information from the special counsel's office. thank you for those report. let's talk a little bit about this with ellie honing. unpack this for me. let's talk about the situation with the oversight committee and chairman cummings. he's not happy that the white house isn't cooperating with his committee. what options does he have? >> his next option is to issue a
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subpoena. this is both a legal move and a political statement by the white house so just straight up stonewall, not even give them any token documents, just say you get nothing, your move. now all the house committees, their next move is so issue a subpoena which now takes it out of the realm of just a request by a letter to you are now being formally ordered, compelled by the congress to produce these documents. if the white house resists that, then we're going to end up in court and we're going to have a legal battle over separation of powers. there's a couple different ways the white house could object to a subpoena. they could argue it's overbroad, they could argue it's outside the scope of the committee, they could take the fifth and executive privilege, which means certain communications between the president and his top advisors are meant to remain secret. that will take us down the road of the richard nixon supreme court case of 1974 which did not
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end well for nixon. >> they're saying they need more time to deal with an extension in the paul manafort case. does this have anything to do with the mueller report? what can we glean from this? >> it is very rare, not completely unheard of but very rare for prosecutors to say we just couldn't make it on time. i don't think mueller's team has ever done that other than this. the way i was trained at the southern district of new york is you're always ready even if a judge gives you a seemingly impossible deadline you never say you can't do it, you get it done. the fact they've said sorry, you're honor, can't quite get there tells me they're really churning hard on something. whether that's the report, whether that's the next round of indictments, i don't know. >> is there as good a chance that it's indictments? >> it could be that. there are several names that
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have surfaced during the course of this investigation i think are in potential jeopardy. jerome corsi. there's been questions about eric prince, questions about donald trump jr. it wouldn't surprise me if there are more arrests there for mueller. >> finally this last tea leaf we got from the attorney general. rod rosenstein is going to stay on. he calls himself a heat shield for robert mueller and this investigation. does this maybe tell us that the mueller report isn't as imminent as we might think? >> it should be that he's got to stick around until it comes out. there's going to be heat clearly, but which way? i do think it's a good thing that rosenstein stay there is t. still to come, 2020
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candidate beto o'rourke making his first trip to new hampshire this morning just as a new cnn poll gives a new look at who's leading the democratic field. plus a new report reveals how an off duty pilot saved a different flight the day before the doomed lion air crash. from the start, the c-class was ahead of its time. still, we never stopped making it stronger. faster. smarter. because to be the best, is to never ever stop making it better. the new 2019 c-class family. visit your local mercedes-benz dealer for exceptional lease & financing offers during the mercedes-benz spring event. going on now. i was on the fence about changing from a manual to an electric toothbrush. but my hygienist said going electric could lead to way cleaner teeth. she said, get the one inspired by dentists, with a round brush head. go pro with oral-b. oral-b's gentle rounded brush head
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candidate. he's holding multiple events today. in fact, one is about to get underway in plymouth. o'rourke is hoping that the mountain of cash can give him a bounce in the polls. a new cnn poll of democrats and democrat leaning voters has him in fourth place right now. joe biden, who's not officially in the race, is on top with 28%, followed by bernie sanders and kamala harris. jeff zeleny joins me from washington. what's beto o'rourke saying? >> he is talking about these fund-raising numbers, of course. that's one of the big headlines of the first week of his candidacy. there has been a question sort of hanging over him, where did all this $6.1 million come from. he had this to say about that. >> more than 128,000 unique contributions made in the first 24 hours from every state in the country. $47 was the average
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contribution. all of it came from people. not a dime from pacs or lobbyists. it helps us on our way to becoming the largest grassroots campaign. >> he's talking there breaking down the numbers a little bit. let's break them down a little bit more, mainly comparing him with bernie sanders who of course raised just about $6 million and he of course raised an average of $27 on his contributions. you can see the numbers there broken down. what does that actually tell us? it means that beto o'rourke is also getting some bigger checks. some donors are either maxing out to him giving him $2800 and then of course getting some smaller contributions. bernie sanders has always been fuelled by a lot of small contributions. we should make the point here that the fund raising that beto o'rourke is doing seems to me much more like the barack obama fund-raising, having that mix of small dollar excitement, small dollar contributions and the larger establishment money if
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you will. we will not know the full picture of any of this until april when these full reports are filed. >> we're taking the candidate's word for it up until this point. >> we are. >> i want to ask you what you think about these 2020 polls. >> sure. >> what in particular stands out to you? >> i think that the thing in particular is kamala harris. she had the biggest bounce. of course she has been campaigning all year long. she jumped in just at basically the beginning of january. she had a big rise in there. one thing i am struck by there is a big majority, some 56% of democratic voters and democratic leaning voters who say their top priority is defeating the president. of that subset, bernie sanders fares the worst among the top contenders because they want someone who can beat him. we are going to talk about this a lot. the purity test versus the pragmatic test. a lot of democrats looking for
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someone who can beat president trump. senator sanders says he is one of them. >> the sanders camp would tell you his purity makes him the most electable. >> indeed. >> joining me now to talk more about this cnn politics repor r er. so much attention has been placed on beto o'rourke's fund-raising numbers. bernie sanders' campaign is going to make this heavy emphasis on the fact they have more unique contributors. does that really matter? >> beto o'rourke's numbers are more similar to barack obama's numbers and i think that's not by mistake. i think once we start really understanding how the campaigns are folding, we're going to see a number of obama former
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campaign staffers and consultants supporting his campaign. i think the other thing that's interesting for us, the field is crowded. there are a number of democratic contenders. and any little small thing that will differentiate one person from another, i think they're going to tap into. bernie sanders, we know the talking points probably won't change that much. that $27 is going to be key to him because he's saying i'm not just for you little guy, i'm one of you. >> it seems as though we're losing count of how many days we've been on the biden watch. the ball moves a little bit closer every day but he's not quite there yet. you say he's making a mistake by holding out for so long. why is that? >> i do think incrementalism reaches the point of insanity. everyone knows he's running so it's kind of like what's the wait for. here's what i think. i think that biden kind of opens himself up to being picked apart
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a little bit, criticized, is he too dependent on big donors, is he going to have too moderate a message. and he's not in the race so he can't defend himself. that's at least part of it. the other thing is in reporting done by jeff zeleny, there appears to be this kind of in inevitability message. everything aimed at saying this is really about biden versus trump. it's not a crowded field of equals. it's biden and everybody else. how did that work out for hillary clinton in 2016? >> i imagine the kamala harris camp is paying close attention to that especially as she continues to quietly sneak up in the polls. what do you think about the
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movement we're seeing from the harris campaign? >> i think the best thing that could have happened for kamala harris's campaign is for people to underestimate her. maya harris, who is her campaign chair, also her sister, a brilliant campaign mind, i think that is the best thing that could have happened. again, i just want to say this very clearly. the field is already crowded, everyone has not yet announced, ala biden. and i also think it's important for us to understand it's 2019 and it's only march. we have a long way to go. there's a number of things that could happen. i was speaking last night at tennessee state university and a young person asked who do i expect to win and i was like, it is way too early to call. we see those screens come up during primary nights and election nights on cnn and it is entirely too early to call. kamala harris's folks are banking on people continuing to underestimate how strategic and how brilliant that campaign has been run thus far and will continue to be run. >> there's no truth to the fact
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that i'm so swimming in 2020 that i'm writing 2020 on my checks. we're not quite there yet. i do want to talk about president trump's role in all of this. he said, quote, the democrats are getting very strange, is how he put it. now they want to change the voting age to 16, abolish the electoral college and increase the number of supreme court justices. actually you've got to win at the ballot box. we're often critical of the way donald trump attacks his democratic opponents, but this is actually some fairly reasonable criticisms of some more -- i don't want to say radical decisions or policy positions that democrats have taken that may raise some eyebrows. do you think he was smart by going after this? >> leaving aside my constant confusion over what he puts in quotations and what he capitalizes in his tweets, i do think nancy pelosi said last week that impeachment is not where we're going to go yet and i think you will hear skept
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stic skepticism about adding more supreme court justices. yes, elizabeth warren came out in favor of abolishing the electoral college. my guess is you're not going to see the leadership line up behind that. the 2020 candidates really push the envelope because they need to appeal to the base. whereas the congressional democratic party led by nancy pelosi will say we're focused on doing the business of the american people on pragmatic solutions to get things done. i think that is the natural role we always see when there's an open presidential nomination. i do think trump will seize on the idea that democrats in his words will focus on socialism and impeaching him because that rallies his base. we'll see how much democrats fall into that trap or not. >> i was going to say really
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quickly, i think it's important for us to understand too i think this is demonstrating that there's a rising of a new, more visible base. this base has been here for years but finally democrats are really starting to see the importance of the black vote that is also why reparations has been a point of discussion. abolishing the electoral college isn't just about undermining the democracy. it's about demonstrating for once that it's time for black people -- the 400th anniversary of slaves being in this country to finally have their own say and nobody speaking for them. >> which was the point that elizabeth warren made in that town hall. don't forget to watch a special cnn town hall with john hickenlooper. dana bash will moderate. it will be in atlanta tonight at 10:00 eastern. coming up, the race is on for 2020 and we're not just talking about the democrats. next, cnn gets a rare look
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nation's highest office in 2016. jeremy, i know you were there in 2016. how much different are things this time around? >> that's right, ryan. what struck me the first moment that i walked into those office that is the trump campaign has now in arlington, virginia, was how different the office space was from what the campaign had in 2016. there were no moldy pipes or electrical wires hanging from the ceiling, no concrete slabs, no unpainted drywall. instead you have this sleek modern office with glass walled offices inside. it's just such a stark contrast to what we saw back in 2016. but it goes so much beyond just the office itself. it's how structured this reelection effort is compared to 2016. they've already hired dozens of staff. they are sitting on lots and lots of cash.
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they answered 2019 with $19 million in cash on hand after raising more than $100 million in the past two years. this is a reelection campaign that has gotten started earlier than any presidential reelection campaign before. you may remember that the president's campaign actually filed for reelection just hours after the president was nass inaugur inaugurated back in 2017. brad parscale is working in lock step with the reenc in this unprecedented merger to essentially meld the two operations, field operations well ahead of the general election, something they say is going to position them perfectly once democrats have a nominee. brad parscale is very aware of the fact that ultimately it is going to be the president's campaign and defined him hi ed . >> the president says involved. when i show him the direction
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we're going, the things we're building, he's excited and he gives me input. i've always said he's the campaign director, the finance director. he's the master of the trump train and i'm the conductor. >> he knows obviously the gain is going to be defined by the president given his controversial nature, the polling numbers that he has and he's also propelling the campaign with a digital focus strategy, one that's going to heavily rely on the rnc's data analytics operation. if you look at what the campaign has spent already on digital advertising, $4.5 million so far, already outpacing those democratic candidates. they say the data and lalytics rnc has, really this is going to be a super charged version of the 2016 campaign are the president really focused on his base.
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you're going to see much of the same this time around, just with many, many more resources. >> as of right now, he doesn't have to worry about a primary opponent so he can focus everything on the general election. thank you for that inside look into the trump campaign. coming up, new details about the final moments of the doomed lion air flight and the frantic search for a fix. what the pilots tried to do to safe those on board before it crashed. does your house still smell stuffy? that's because your home is filled with soft surfaces that trap odors and release them back into the room. so, try febreze fabric refresher. febreze finds odors trapped in fabrics and cleans them away as it dries. use febreze every time you tidy up to keep your whole house smelling fresh air clean. fabric refresher even works for clothes you want to wear another day. make febreze part of your clean routine for whole home freshness. menew infallible full weards concealer by l'oreal. with an extra-large applicator
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so new information this morning about the lion air flight that crashed last october in indonesia. it was the same kind of boeing 737 max 8 jet that crashed last week in ethiopia. reuters reports the pilots frantically searched through a handbook minutes before the flight went down, trying to understand why the plane was nose diving. meantime, bloomberg reports that an off duty pilot may have kept the lion air from crashing the day before. tom, what is the latest? >> well, this is a horrifying new detail from reuters here. the notion is that only a couple minutes after the lion airplane took off, they knew they had a problem. the plane was trying to pitch nose downward toward the java sea. so the pilots started looking through the manual. they were wrestling the plane. it would dive down and they would pull it back. they're sort of flipping through the manual saying, what is going
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on with this plane, why is this happening? based on this reporting which is based upon apparently what came from the flight voice recorder on board, at no time did they realize the plane itself was doing something different in terms of the trim of the plane to make it dive. they kept talking about things like air speed, according to this report, they were concerned that somehow they were losing speed and that's what was making this plane nose down toward the sea. the bottom line is, if this is correct, this is what they went through for nine minutes trying to find an answer. then we have this other report from bloomberg suggesting that the day before the same plane had a similar issue and the only difference was there was another pilot in the cockpit who was simply riding there. he might be deadheading or whatever the explanation is when this other pilot happened to be there. but he recognized what was happening and he told them to shut down part of the system and
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that's the only reason the plane was able to fly on without a problem. and then on the ground they looked at the plane and said everything is working fine, and they took off the next day and crashed. if you take both reports at face value, that raises the stakes very much higher for boeing in the second crash. >> seems to be a lot more problems emerging than we first originally thought. tom foreman, thank you for that report. coming up, bracing for north korea's next move, the white house weighs how to respond to a possible satellite launch. what does it mean for trump's negotiations with kim jong-un? (client's voice) remember that degree you got in taxation? (danny) of course you don't because you didn't! your job isn't understanding tax code... it's understanding why that... will get him a body like that... move! ...that. your job isn't doing hard work... here.'s making her do hard work... ...and getting paid for it. (vo) snap and sort your expenses to save over $4,600 at tax time. (danny) jody...'s time to get yours!
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cnn has learned that trump administration officials are discussing how to respond if north korea makes a provocative new move, a satellite launch. tensions between the two countries have escalated since president trump's failed summit with kim jong-un in hanoi, and any weapons tests would go against the repeated assurances we've heard from president trump about the progress he's made with north korean leaders. >> now there's no missile testing, there's no rocket testing. there's no nuclear testing. >> chairman kim promised me last night, regardless he's not going to do testing of rockets and nuclear -- not going to do testing. >> all right. so joining me now to talk about this, cnn national security reporter kylie atwood. what are you hearing about how white house officials are preparing for this behind the scenes? >> well, ryan, internally the white house is having discussions right now about how they should react if north korea
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does indeed make a provocative move in launching a satellite. now, the administration has been crystal clear over the last few weeks, that it would not be good. it would essentially be suicidal for u.s.-north korea ongoing negotiations if north korea were to test, carry out a nuclear or missile test. john bolton just over the weekend, the national security adviser, said that trump himself would be very, very disappointed if north korea made that move. however, publicly, they have not said how the u.s. would react, how the trump administration would react if north korea makes the move in launching a satellite. it is a different kind of launch, but it is still banned by u.n. security council resolutions. >> yes. talk about that a little bit more. there is a big difference between a satellite launch and a nuclear missile or even a missile that's being tested for a nuclear weapon. how would that be viewed by the american government? >> that's right. so you could make the argument
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that a satellite launch is using technology and is outside of the nuclear infrastructure of north korea's program at least formally, but of course, the devil is in the details. the actual technology that is used for a satellite launch is very similar to that that is used for an ibcm launch. so essentially, it is related. however, maybe not directly to north korea's nuclear program. the other thing to consider here is the fact that secretary of state mike pompeo earlier this year reacted very strongly, very aggressively when iran tried to carry out a satellite test saying it was a flagrant -- a flagrant move. it was in violation of u.n. security council resolutions. so the trump administration would be walking a fine line if it were to react any differently to the same move by the north koreans. >> all right. kylie atwood, thank you for that report. we appreciate it, and we are going to be right back after going to be right back after this short break.
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